Cats, Owls and Dementors
Author’s Note: This is the direct sequel to Luna Lovegood and the Dark Portrait Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, J.K. Rowling and Joss Whedon do. Thanks very much to my Beta, Letomo. My very great thanks to rhiowen for recommending this story so quickly, I hope I can write it up to your high expectations. The following ways of notation may be found in this story. This is excluding whatever I need to represent chatting, texting and stuff like that. And you can thank Twilightwanderer for the Abbott and Costello. Speech:
“Who’s on first.” Thought:
*What’s on second.
#I-don’t-know’s on third.# Chapter 2 Cats, Owls and Dementors
Two men, little more than dark shapes in the shadows, were standing in the entrance to Knockurn alley watching a third, a blond man who was walking past, carrying a box marked ‘Spectrespecs! See what your children can do!’ with disdain.
“That’s Lovegood. He must be stopped. He’s allowing Muggles to see things they’re not meant to see.” The first dark man said conversationally.
“He is an advocate Mudblood rights as well.” The second replied in a raspy voice.
“Can we deal with him without attracting attention?” The first asked.
“With all the Dementors around? Accidents are bound to happen. The Ministry will be most apologetic.” The second said smugly. The two dark shapes withdrew deeper into Knockturn Alley, and smiled.
Harry, Hermione and Ron settled into the compartment with the sleeping professor, a man called Lupin. His name was on his battered suitcase and the word professor had recently been added to it.
Harry explained that he’d overheard that Sirius Black was after him, personally, as some insane vengeance for killing Voldemort. Ron and Hermione weren’t taking it well at all.
“That’s terrible, Harry! Black is an insane madman! A murderer!” Ron held a hand on his shirt pocket which held Scabbers and an eye on Crookshanks.
“He’s a very bad man; I’d say he’s a violent psychotic.” Hermione supplied, holding the brass cage that held her new owl, which she had called Dodger. The little owl nipped at the bars and hooted softly and Hermione absentmindedly opened the cage to let it out, like Hedwig already was.
Dodger flew out. Crookshanks leaped. Fifteen seconds later a single feather floated down and a yowling Crookshanks was hiding under the seats as the tiny little pygmy owl was trying to get at him, pecking with its little beak, its eyes fierce and golden.
Ron, seeing the situation started to laugh. Harry stifled his own. Hermione sighed. “Dodger? Dodger! Don’t attack Crooks. I’m sure he’s very sorry for attacking you.”
Dodger let out a derisive hoot and pecked at Crookshank’s extended paw.
“Dodger!” Hermione warned, not certain if the owl would listen. Dodger glared once more at the cowering cat and flew up to the luggage rack. The tiny pygmy owl, small even for its species, cheeped as it settled on Hedwig’s head. The great snowy owl fluffed her feathers indignantly but let the little thing remain where it was.
Ron sniggered. “Leave it to ‘Mione to buy the smallest owl because it was ‘scared’ of the bigger ones.”
frightened Ron. Honestly, everybody could see that! Now be quiet, Professor Lupin is sleeping.” Hermione said snippily.
Harry and Ron exchanged looks. It was quite clear to them that if anything had been doing any scaring at the Menagerie it was Dodger.
There was a soft knock at the door and Harry called out after exchanging glances with the others. “Yeah?”
Luna came in, rather diffidently, lugging her trunk along behind her. “C-can I sit with you?” Myrtle, behind the blond, was looking livid. Harry noted the tear streaks on Luna’s face and the fact her necklace was damaged and her robes askew.
Hermione looked shocked. “Luna! What happened?” She rose and hugged the younger girl, gesturing for Harry and Ron to get the luggage in.
Myrtle let out a huff of cold air, frozen with her anger. “She mentioned the fact that Sirius Black never got a trial, so that he can’t actually be called a murdered, only a suspected one.”
“What, that was all?” Hermione’s voice was still shocked.
“She didn’t even say he was innocent, not that he wouldn’t be convicted, just that he hadn’t had a trial.” Myrtle spat as Luna softly sobbed in Hermione’s arms.
“He never got a trial? B-But that’s unfair and unjust
!” Hermione said indignantly, “Without a trial they can just lock up everybody!”
“Oh, really Mione, Black is a murderer, they weren’t going to waste good Galleons on him.” Ron scoffed.
“Oh? Oh? Well Ron Weasley, what if the Minister would have locked your father in Azkaban for his flying car? Or given him a ten thousand Galleon fine?” Hermione said while stroking Luna’s hair.
“That’s mental! Insane! It would never happen!” Ron whispered fiercely, keeping an eye on the sleeping teacher.
Harry shook his head. “Has happened mate, among the Muggles. And look at how fair the trials went, all the people who pled they’d been Imperio’d
and got off.”
Ron scratched his nose. “Yeah. Merlin. You’re right.” He chuckled ruefully. “I still don’t think Black is innocent.”
“That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have been given a trial, Ron, honestly, if you would just think before you spoke once or twice!” Hermione said severely.
Harry and Ron exchanged glances and smirks. “Right ‘Mione. And research too.” Ron said, grinning. “But anyway, Luna, you can stay here. You’re right, if Black hasn’t had a trial, he should get one. And anybody who thinks they can bully you has to come through us.” He fingered his wand.
Harry nodded his agreement with Ron’s statement. “Yeah. Don’t worry Luna, you’re safe here. Safe and welcome.”
Hermione rolled her eyes at the male bravado, but smiled at the boys too.
Luna gave all of them a watery smile. “T-thank you.” She dug a large multi coloured handkerchief from her pocket and blew her nose after wiping her eyes.
Except for a sneering and ineffectual visit by Malfoy, there was no excitement during the journey, a fact that Harry appreciated. Travelling in the same compartment as a teacher, at least if the teacher was sleeping, was not so bad.
The conversations mostly turned to books, between Luna, Myrtle and Hermione, or Quidditch, between Harry and Ron.
Then the train slowed down and it got darker quickly. Ron smiled. “Looks like we’re nearly there.
Brilliant! All we have to do is wait for the Sorting to finish and then we can eat.” Ron rubbed his hands in anticipation.
“It’s not time to arrive yet. We’re far too early. And honestly Ron, do think with something else than your stomach for once!” Hermione replied, looking at her watch.
The train moved forward slower and slower and the wind and rain seemed to pick up as the noise of the wheels and pistons no longer drowned out the noise of the storm.
Harry, closest to the door, went and stuck his head out, seeing others emerge from other compartments in equal confusion.
The train shuddered to a halt sudden stop and thuds and bangs and yells and shouts told of luggage falling from the racks. Then the lights went out. Ron cleared his throat. “Okay, that’s not good. What happened, an accident?”
Luna shivered where she sat between Harry and Hermione and leaned into Harry’s warmth.
The door opened and someone fell over Harry’s legs, causing Luna to let out yelp of pain as something hit her as well.
“Who’s there?” Harry said as he fumbled for a grip on his probably involuntary assailant.
“It’s me, Neville.” Neville replied nervously.
“Hey Neville, have a seat.”
“Yeah, thanks. AAAAGGHHH!!!”
“That will teach you to sit on a lady.” Myrtle said snippily.
Hermione spoke. “I’m going to the driver’s compartment and ask what’s going on.” They heard the sliding door open and then.
“What? Who?” Hermione asked sharply, with a little bit of pain in her voice.
“It’s me, Ginny. What happened, do you know why it’s so dark?” Ginny inquired anxiously.
“No, we don’t. Come here, Gin.” Ron said, reaching out for his little sister as she stumbled past Hermione in the dark and drawing her close. “Don’t worry; no big snakes or Dark Lords on this train. Probably just err…Hermione? What is going on, you think?”
“I don’t know, I was going to ask the driver before I was run down.” Hermione said in an annoyed tone of voice. There was a rubbing noise and Hermione muttered something about hard-headed Weasleys.
“Quiet.” A raspy voice commanded from the corner and Professor Lupin’s drawn face was lit up by an unearthly light that hung like a ball of greenish white flames above his hand. “I’ll go and see. Stay here and keep the door closed.” He rose to go out but then a shadow appeared outside and opened the door. Only the flickering light from Professor Lupin’s ball of flame lit it as it stood in the doorway like a shadow drawing in the light. Lupin’s eyes flicked to it and he spoke in a quiet voice. “Myrtle, get away from it, now.”
Darkness and cold seemed to flow into the compartment as the door was opened. Harry saw the pale, grey hand, like the hand of a drowned man, long in the water, beneath the black robe of the huge figure standing there and he heard Luna’s intake of breath. He felt her shiver beside him and instinctively put an arm around her, even as the dark thing loomed he felt the intense interest it had for him. He heard the screams echoing in his head. And then he fainted.
Luna saw the Dementor come in and felt the screams beginning, her own screams as her Mummy’s spell span out of control and it cut and pierced and hurt and her mother’s screams as she tried so desperately to protect her Little Moon. The nightmare that plagued her so often. Luna screamed.
Luna felt her face being slapped as she lay on the floor. At least, she thought it was the floor. She was lying between Neville and Professor Lupin and Harry was on the floor too, between Hermione and Ron. Myrtle floated above them all, horizontally near the ceiling, almost translucent and looking decidedly ill, which was something that Luna had never thought to see, never had imagined could happen. The lights were on, and shining into her eyes and she lifted a cold, trembling hand to shield them.
Lupin rummaged through his pockets and came up with a large slab of chocolate that he quickly broke and shared out, Luna and Harry both got equally large pieces, Ginny got the next largest. “Eat this it will make you feel better.”
“That was a Dementor wasn’t it?” Luna asked as she nibbled her chocolate.
“Yes, Miss Lovegood that was a Dementor, one of the Guards of Azkaban.” Lupin replied softly. Then the professor rose and smiled. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and speak to the driver.”
He quickly left the compartment, sure-footed in the moving train.
Luna ate her chocolate. She glanced at Harry. “Eat your chocolate, it helps.”
Ginny looked at her friend. “Err. He’s sort of a stranger, Luna. I’m in enough trouble with Mum and Dad as it is.”
Luna rolled her eyes. “He’s our new Defence against Dark Arts teacher. He gave us chocolate to help counter the effects of meeting a Dementor. Hermione, there’s five slabs in my bag; Daddy put them there as soon as he heard the beastly things were guarding the school. Take some if you need it.”
Hermione blinked. “Err. What?”
“Chocolate. It helps. Now eat Luna’s if you don’t trust Lupin’s.” Myrtle said from the ceiling.
Hermione looked at Ginny and Ron, shrugged, grabbed a huge slab of chocolate from Luna’s bag, broke of five pieces and handed three to Harry, Ron, Ginny and Neville, keeping one for herself. “I don’t really have good experiences with DADA teachers.” She remarked dryly.
Harry groaned and sat up, pale and shaking. “So what happened?” He wiped some of the clammy sweat of his face. He noticed Luna was almost as bad as he.
“It just stood looking at you two, almost like it wanted to eat you or something…” Ron began. “And then I got all cold and, well… I remembered the tunnel…I was, well you know.” He looked uncomfortably between Harry, Hermione and most of all Ginny. “Useless.”
Hermione rolled her eyes and swallowed. “You’re not useless, Ron! You’re very brave, you were terribly injured and Lockhart is a fully grown man. You did everything you could. You ARE NOT USELESS!!” She glared at the red headed boy and his ears reddened.
She smiled at him. “Honestly, how often do I have to tell you?” She turned to Harry and continued where Ron had broken off. “Then you got all stiff and Luna seemed just to tremble and, well, both of you just slid out of your seats all limp…” Hermione continued, shivering. “And I…I remembered…Lockhart…” She took a bite of her chocolate.
Ginny spoke up. “The Chamber of Secrets. Riddle revealing himself.”
“It’s what Dementors do.” Professor Lupin had returned and stood in the doorway. “They take the most powerful emotions. Each of you has suffered, to a more or lesser degree.” He looked at Harry and Luna, studying Luna with some curiosity. “There is no shame in succumbing to the power of a Dementor. They are terrible creatures.” He noted the uneaten chocolate he’d provided and smiled. “It does help you know, I didn’t give it just on a whimsy.”
Hermione nodded. “We ate Luna’s, thanks all the same sir.”
Lupin’s eyes narrowed as he studied Hermione. Hermione shifted uncomfortably in her seat and looked away, pale.
Harry struggled to his seat, glaring at Lupin. “We do not have very good experiences with DADA teachers.” He said coldly.
Lupin flinched. “Of course. My apologies. The train will reach Hogwarts in ten minutes.” Lupin sat down, strangely subdued and took back the chocolate the children hadn’t eaten. The entire bar was wrapped back up in the wadded up paper it had come from, except for the bit Luna had eaten.
“Firs’ years! Firs’ years! Over ‘ere to the boats! “ Hagrid shouted. He was dressed in neat, new, very large robes and wore enormous dragonhide boots underneath. A huge wand was stuck into a holster like device on his huge belt. He waved cheerfully. “’Ullo you three! See you at the feast! Firs’ Years! Firs’ Years into the boats!”
Harry stood looking at the First Years getting into the boats when he heard Luna’s slightly dreamy voice, a touch more excited than usual. “Shall we go to the Carriages? I want to pet the Thestrals, they wouldn’t let me last year.”
“Thestrals? How? Where? I don’t see them?” Hermione’s nose was almost twitching with excitement.
Luna smiled sadly, as did Myrtle. “You can’t see them unless you’ve seen and accepted death.” The Ghost girl replied.
Hermione blinked. “Oh. I see. That’s not in the books, or in Hogwarts, a History
“Daddy says not to trust everything written in books. And not everything worth knowing can be found in one.” Luna replied as she seemed to be petting air.
Myrtle looked around furtively and then floated up to whatever Luna was petting and moving as if mounting a horse. She grinned as she leaned forward and stroked an invisible neck. “I’ve wanted to do this for years.”
Hermione looked wistful. “Can you describe them for me? Please?” She asked Luna.
“Sure. Let’s get in the coach.” Luna replied and looked pointedly at the two boys, who both climbed in.
Luna sighed and gestured to where Draco was helping Pansy Parkinson into their carriage She exchanged looks with Ginny and Hermione who both grinned. “Apparently Gryffindors make lousy gentlemen.” Hermione quipped, before climbing into the carriage. Ginny got in next, and then Luna. Hermione pointed out the window. Neville Longbottom had extended a hand to aid Millicent Bullstrode enter the carriage as Draco stood politely waiting. The girls exchanged glances and then glared at Ron and Harry, both of whom were oblivious.
From outside came a loud whoop. “Giddy up, Thestry!”
Luna wrinkled her nose as she got out of the carriage. She’d been rather cramped on one couch with Ginny and Hermione, but it had been worth it. She did think the carriages, despite being used only once or twice a year might be better maintained or even given an occasional Scourgify
. They were smelly and uncomfortable. Harry was the first out of the carriage and rather sheepishly and awkwardly extended his arm to Luna, then to Hermione and Ginny.
Luna nodded gracefully, a gesture copied by the other girls as well. They were disturbed by an unwelcome noise. Draco Malfoy, talking.
“I heard you fainted, Potter? The Dementor was so scary?” Draco Malfoy asked in his strident voice, making sure it carried all over the platform. Ron bristled and Harry gritted his teeth, clearly enraged. Hermione gave Neville a look that promised the nervous young Gryffindor a good talking to.
Luna stepped forward. “I fainted as well Malfoy. Perhaps your father did as well, when he met the Dementors in Azkaban. Why don’t you ask him, I’m sure he’d be willing to tell you all about it?” She replied sweetly.
Malfoy’s pale cheeks flushed and gritted his teeth. “My Father was declared innocent of any wrongdoing.”
“I never said he committed any wrongs, Malfoy.” Luna blinked her large silvery eyes at Draco. ”Just that he’d been in Azkaban. Everyone who’s been in Azkaban feels the Dementors.”
Malfoy bristled. “How do you know so much about Dementors, Lovegood?”
“My Father and Mother campaigned for decades to have them destroyed. Daddy still does. They are an abomination that should not be allowed to continue to exist.” Luna answered quietly.
Draco Malfoy closed his mouth. He studied Luna carefully. Then he nodded. “I could very well live with that.” And turned around and walked away, followed closely by confused looking Crabbe and Goyle.
Ron grinned widely. “That was brilliant! You put Malfoy in his place, talking about his dad in Azkaban!”
Luna shrugged. “Daddy wrote about it when he pointed out Sirius Black was never tried, I just remembered. Shall we go inside? I could do with some food.”
Professor McGonagall was waiting inside. “Potter, Granger, Miss Weasley, Mr. Weasley, you as well Mr. Longbottom. Come with me please. Miss Lovegood, Professor Flitwick wants to speak with you.”
Luna nodded and left after a nodded goodbye to the others, Myrtle floating beside her. Ginny and Ron exchanged looks. “Err, professor…”Ron began.
McGonagall smiled, if severely. “You’re not in trouble, Mr. Weasley, just some things that have to be arranged. Come on, the faster we do this the faster we can get to the feast..”
The two siblings exchanged a look, obviously less than happy.
“To my office, if you please.” McGonagall led the way and they arrived in the spartanly furnished yet welcoming office shortly after. “Professor Lupin owled ahead you’d been taken ill.”
“Yes Professor. It was the Dementor.” Harry said repressively. “I’m better now. Can I go?”
McGonagall blinked. “Well, I’d like you to be checked out by Madam Pomfrey first. You seem quite well informed about Dementors?”
“Luna’s parents studied them, she knows quite a bit about them as well.”
Madam Pomfrey bustled in and turned towards the pupils after a short nod to McGonagall. “What’s wrong, have you lot been doing something dangerous again?”
Harry bristled. McGonagall spoke soothingly. “It was a Dementor, Poppy. Mr. Potter fainted and Miss Granger and the Weasleys were almost as badly affected.”
Pomfrey sniffed disdainfully and exchanged a dark look with the Transfiguration teacher. “Well, they won’t be the last. Setting Dementors around a school. Was anything done?”
“Professor Lupin gave us chocolate, but we ate Luna’s.” Hermione replied as Madam Pomfrey ran her wand over her.
“You refused his chocolate? Why?” McGonagall asked sharply.
Hermione turned towards her. “Because our parents taught us not to take candy from strangers. And honestly
Professor, you expect us to trust a DADA
teacher at this
school?” She answered scathingly.
McGonagall’s nostrils whitened and then she let out a breath. “That makes a lot of sense, actually. Just…give professor Lupin the benefit of the doubt, don’t condemn him yet.”
McGonnagal looked at Poppy. “How are they? Should they spend time in the Infirmary?”
“Well the chocolate, who ever provided it, it helped.”
“Do they need to stay in the Infirmary then?” McGonagall asked.
“No.” Pomfrey smiled down at Harry. “They need to get to the feast and have something to eat.” Ron’s stomach grumbled in agreement.
“I need to have a word with Miss Granger first. Please remain behind.”
Harry tugged on Madam Pomfrey’s sleeve. “Will you be checking on Luna Lovegood too? She fainted as well.”
Pomfrey slewed round and her glare at Professor McGonagall made the older witch look away. “I will go to her immediately. Minerva, we will speak about this later
.” The two Weasleys and Harry went out of the office with her, Madam Pomfrey headed off towards the Hall, muttering something about stupid traditions.
Ron, Ginny and Harry waited outside the office door for Hermione to come out. It took quite a bit, but Hermione was unexpectedly cheerful when she emerged. ‘What are you all doing here?”
Ron harrumphed. “We thought you were getting detention after the way you spoke to McGonagall.”
“Professor McGonagall, Ron. And no, she wanted to talk about my electives and timetable. Now lets get to the feast, we probably already missed the Sorting.”